A day in the life of St Vincent's social workers

27 May 2016

It’s never a dull day in the life of a social worker. Here, we explain a day in the life of St Vincent’s social workers, who are always dedicatedly providing care and assistance for our patients, their families and their carers.


7am - Emergency social worker arrives to the Emergency Department and attends to a major trauma victim who has been brought in by ambulance after falling from a balcony.

7.30am – A social worker from Homeless Health team reviews three homeless people who need medical care and housing assistance and commences work with them regarding their diverse needs.

8am – A Heart/Lung Transplant social worker visits a transplant patient in the Intensive Care Unit from overnight heart transplant and provides emotional support for the family who have arrived from the country and liaises with the Accommodation Officer who assists with accommodation for the family in the Terraces.

8.30am – An Oncology social worker attends Nelune Chemotherapy clinic to commence assistance to a 35-year-old mother with young children, with adjustment to the impact of her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.

9am – A social worker in the Aged Care Medical Assessment Unit attends multi-disciplinary morning rounds in the wards and plans to see five new admissions of elderly patients including a referral of elder abuse.

9.30am – A social worker for Thoracic Medicine commences collaborative assessment with the Aboriginal Health Worker and counsels an Aboriginal man with emphysema no longer able to work full time and is adjusting to his changing circumstances.

10am – A Neurosurgery social worker meets with a 53-year-old male patient who has sustained a serious stroke, and his family members to commence discussion of rehabilitation and longer term care plans.

10.30am – A social worker works with a 22-year-old patient with drug and alcohol issues to find long -lost family and refer her for accommodation and support services.

11am – A social worker in IBAC counsels a client with a new diagnosis of Hepatitis C who is distressed and needing psycho-education.

11.30am - A social worker in Vascular Medicine has patient disclose history of domestic violence and fears for her safety on discharge from hospital.

12 noon - A social worker in Orthopaedics provides assessment and counselling for a 62-year-old active woman with no family supports who has fractured her femur in a car accident.

12.30pm – A social worker from Aged Care coordinates a visit to an aged care facility with an 88-year-old widowed male patient with progressing dementia to facilitate his long term care needs.

1pm – A social worker in Cardiac Rehabilitation co-facilitates a group for patients and their partners after a major heart attack (myocardial infarct) adjusting to this major health crisis.

2pm – An ICU social worker participates in a family conference regarding end-of-life planning after the major deterioration of a 48 year old woman and mother of four with end stage pancreatic cancer.

2.30 pm – A social worker provides smoking cessation assessment, counselling and education for a cardiology patient admitted from rural NSW who is keen to try quitting again.

3pm – A social worker in Gastroenterology assists a homeless patient with co-morbidities of a mental health diagnosis with respect to emergency housing and follow up care planning.

3.30pm – A social worker attends a family conference in Rehabilitation to advocate for family trialling taking home their son with advancing motor neurone disease.

4pm – The psycho-geriatric Social Worker conducts a home visit, along with the Occupational Therapist for an elderly person known to be living in squalor.

4.30pm – A social work Professional Educator provides group supervision for social work students on university placement.

5pm – Social worker in Stimulant treatment program (STP) provides a tailored S-check service for a businessman in his early 40s using methamphetamine and cocaine.

5.30pm - The Palliative Care Community social worker concludes a home visit to support a young woman and her family as she is not expected to survive the night. She has chosen to be at home and the social worker, along with the Palliative Care team, has been providing counselling and preparation for this time.

10.30pm - The on-call social worker is called in for patient 55 who has had a massive cerebral bleed and did not regain consciousness, progressing to brain death. The family and coroner consented to multiple organ donation. The social worker supported family through the night and handed over to ICU SW the next morning.


Authored by: Your helpful St Vincent's Social Work team. Visit our page here to learn more about us.